The New Rules of Football: A Chat with Howard Webb
Ah, football. The beautiful game. A game where 22 grown men chase a ball around a field, occasionally falling over and pretending they’ve been shot. And just when you think you’ve got the hang of the rules, they go and change them. Again.
Enter Howard Webb, the man who’s seen more dives than a scuba instructor and has the unenviable task of explaining the new rules for the 2023/24 season to Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.
“Why Change the Rules?”
Well, according to Webb, all these changes are for the “good of the game”. But let’s be honest, whenever someone says something is for the “good” of anything, it usually means it’s going to be a right pain in the backside.
The 30-Second Rule
One of the most controversial changes is the 30-second rule. If a player goes down injured and needs treatment, they have to leave the field and can’t return for at least 30 seconds. Webb explains, “The reason that rule exists… is because treatment has never been allowed on the field of play.”
But Neville isn’t buying it. He paints a vivid picture: “Me and him go up for a header. I’ve got a bit of blood on my lip. You make me go off to change my shirt… I’ve got to wait an extra 25 seconds to come back on because you’ve sent me off the pitch.”
Webb’s response? “Once you leave the field of play, you stay off for a period of time once the game restarts. 30 seconds.”
The Technical Area
Another area of contention is the technical area. Apparently, there’s been a rise in the number of people surrounding referees and getting sent out of the technical area. Webb’s solution? Book coaches earlier if they misbehave.
Neville, ever the diplomat, suggests that maybe they’re just being “too proactive”. Webb, however, is adamant that these changes are necessary to protect the game.
Football is a game of passion, and with passion comes strong opinions. Whether you agree with the new rules or not, one thing’s for sure: next season is going to be interesting. And as for Webb? Well, he’s just doing his job. Even if that job involves explaining the inexplicable to two very confused ex-footballers.